real food abcs - quinoa

February 10, 2014

real food abcs - quinoa

Q for Quinoa

I am a big fan of quinoa. I was introduced to it years and years ago. I think it is interesting (and amusing) how things get trendy. I am always trying to think back to my days as a nutrition student. What did we learn about then that is the big superfood now? What nutrition trends were we discussing back then that are mainstream now? It seems like quinoa is one of them.

Quinoa is always grouped in the grain category, but it is actually more like a seed. Specifically it is a chenopod. (which I just learned about recently myself) A chenopod is a type of species that is part of a flowering plant. Another related food item in this group is actually spinach! Go figure.

So now that you know it is a chenopod related to spinach I am sure you are convinced more than ever that you want to start eating some.

Quinoa Nutrition

Quinoa and protein

Quinoa is always tauted as being a great source for protein. I think that is one of reasons why people think it is healthy. It is healthy, but maybe not quite for that reason.

The good - quinoa is a complete protein. That means that it has all the essential amino acids present in them
The Bad - quinoa is not that high in protein. Although it has all the amino acids, the total amount of protein is not exceptionally high. A bit higher than other grains, but not by a lot.

So why should you eat quinoa?

  • It is gluten-free - for those sensitive to gluten
  • It is a complete protein
  • It is a good source for folate
  • It is a high source of manganese - good for bone health, skin health, blood sugar control
  • It is a high source of magnesium - good for...too many things to list
  • It is a high source of phosphorus - helps with kidney function, muscle contractions, heartbeat and more
  • It tastes great
  • It is versatile
If you have been on the fence about adding quinoa to your real food diet, I would highly recommend it. Check back in a couple days for some quinoa recipes as well.

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